Thursday, April 10, 2014

Movement to balance custody laws gains steam

Many years ago, it was widely accepted (and one could say expected) that when a couple was married, it was the man who went to work and "brought home the bacon" while the woman stayed at home and took care of the kids and the house. This simple (if not demeaning) approach to marriage caused issues when divorce entered the equation. How would the woman financially provide for herself? How would the man be able to take care of their kids?

Obviously times have dramatically changed since then, and gender roles are constantly converging and colliding in today's world. This is a tremendous development, as we strive for gender equality and the overall improvement of people, in general. This still leaves open the possibility of stay-at-home moms (or dads) -- but the expectation is no longer there.

However, what this does mean is that father's rights have become a major topic in the world of family law. Studies increasingly show that children of divorce benefit from seeing both of their parents. Having a relationship with each (instead of sole custody going to one parent) usually helps them. And yet, many courts simply assign custody (in cases where joint custody can't be agreed) to the mother, possibly as a byproduct of the stigmas attached to marriage from those marriages many years ago.
In recent years, some father's rights movements have pushed for child custody equality. This doesn't mean that every child custody case should end with joint custody. Certain divorces have special circumstances where sole custody being granted to one parent makes more sense. But, in general, more joint custody agreements could help both the divorced parents and their child.

Source: NPR, "Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids?," Jennifer Ludden, Feb. 26, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Divorce is increasing, not decreasing according to study

A new study sheds some light on the U.S. divorce rate, and what has really been going on over the past few decades. It was thought that the divorce rate was decreasing since the 1970s, but the new study paints a very different picture. According to the new research, "the age-standardized refined divorce rate increased substantially after 1990 and is now at an all-time high."

It's a startling revelation in some ways, but in others it may not mean too much. Divorce is actually a simple "device," if you want to think about it in those terms. It allows people who are married but realize that their marriage is no longer tenable to solve their problem.

That is the crux of the matter: divorce is a solution to a problem, not a problem that is in need of solving. People who are unhappy in their marriages and recognize that it is time to change are going to file for divorce regardless of the divorce rate. There will never be a magical number that the divorce rate needs to hit for people to stop divorcing. That world will never exist.

So in the real world where divorce happens all the time and it shouldn't be considered a problem, it is best for unhappy couples to consult an experienced family law attorney to help them get organized and prepared for their split. In some ways, this is more important for fathers who could be confronted with some complex child custody matters in their divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "Is the US Divorce Rate Going Up Rather Than Going Down?," Robert Hughes Jr., March 6, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life circumstances can alter how prenuptial agreement is enforced

On behalf of Regina Edwards of Edwards & Associates, Family Law Attorneys posted in High Asset Divorce on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. 

Take a moment and consider this scenario: say you've been married for many years, but your spouse had a prior marriage. Both of you waived your rights to alimony and signed a prenuptial agreement. Your spouse had multiple kids in the first marriage, and they come to live with you. To make everything work, you quit your job to help take care of them. Everything is going well for many years -- and then your marriage hits a snag.

What are you supposed to do in this scenario? Without a right to alimony or spousal support, and with no job or working experience in years, you could be in a dire financial situation. If you and your spouse were to divorce, would the prenuptial agreement still stand? Or would parts of it be nullified given the drastically different life circumstances that apply now?

It is impossible to give a definite answer to any of these questions without specific details about the people and assets involved. Prenuptial agreements are critical documents, but they are also tricky. The person enforcing the prenup has a significant evidentiary threshold to cover, as does the other party involved. The above scenario may be imaginary in this context, but it is also very real for many couples across the country. Just look at our source article as an example.

Ultimately, it is important to realize that every marriage or divorce is unique -- and that the parties involved need to consult and experienced family law attorney to help them navigate the specifics of their case.

Source: Boston Herald, "Woman worries about terms of prenup," Gerald Nissenbaum, March 16, 2014
Tags: divorce

Monday, January 13, 2014

How Divorce Attorneys Use Social Media as Evidence

Social Media Divorce Evidence
Georgia Family Law Courtesy of and published originally by Dishon & Block Divorce Attorneys

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mom Must Pay $195,000 in Fees for Custody Battle in Fulton County

Daily Report
2014-01-02 00:00:13.0

The judge overseeing a child-custody battle that brought demonstrators to the Fulton County Courthouse twice this year in support of the mother has made a permanent his decision to keep the 11-year-old child at issue in the father's custody.

Judge John Goger of Fulton Superior Court also ordered the mother to pay $195,513 in attorney fees for pursuing child-abuse allegations against her ex-husband that the judge deemed not credible.

The rest of the article may be found at

Although this was not our case, we appear in front of this judge recently.  In a case that had similarities to this one, the judge kept custody with my client, the father, and ordered the mother to pay $12,000 in attorney's fees.   The court is sending a clear message about litigants who attempt to abuse the process.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tax liabilities may be especially important in high-asset divorce

At times, making the decision to divorce may be particularly challenging. Once couples reach the point that they are ready to split, however, there may be an inclination to rush to the finish line without considering the wide range of consequences associated with getting divorced. As such, it may be particularly important to accurately assess the impact of divorce as the process moves forward.

One thing that spouses might not immediately consider is that there are potential tax consequences for transferring assets between divorcing spouses. In high-asset divorce cases, the tax burden could be significant.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Father looks to regain custody in international dispute

Father looks to regain custody in international dispute

Anyone who has been through divorce knows that proceedings can become especially emotional when discussing matters of child custody. Of course, both parents probably agree that custody and visitation decisions should be made to protect the interests of the children, but it can be hard to find points of agreement when caught up in negotiations.

In the midst of custody disputes, parents sometimes make unfortunate choices. This is what appears to be happening in the case of a Colorado father who is trying to get his children back from Argentina. The man's ex-wife defied custody orders by taking the children and removing them from the United States.

About four years ago, the man and his wife were trying to settle their divorce on civil terms because they knew it would be best for their young children. However, the wife falsely accused her husband of being abusive to gain the upper hand during proceedings. As it turns out, the family law judge determined her claims of abuse weren't true and he awarded the father primary physical custody.
Only weeks after the judge's order was handed down, the mother ignored it and took the two kids to Argentina. Now, the man is looking to have his parental rights upheld, but he has to deal with the complications presented by international law.

Thankfully, both the United States and Argentina have signed onto the Hague Convention, which provides guidance in cases of international abductions and custody disputes. Though the case might be covered by this international legal convention, regaining custody in these circumstances is not a simple task.

Of course, not every couple deals with this kind of situation when adjusting to child custody orders. Still, it might be challenging for parents to come to terms with each other. This is why it can be helpful to determine what legal options exist and work with an experienced attorney to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Dennis Burns Waits For Argentinean Supreme Court To Rule On Return Of Abducted Daughters," Nov. 12, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What must be considered when completing a high-asset divorce?

high_asset.jpgDivorce is usually a very complicated process. Not only does each spouse need to sort through emotions, but they also have to consider how they want their assets divided. Although every divorce involves a division of marital assets, some couples face particularly convoluted negotiations in this regard. When dealing with a high-asset divorce, each spouse may have different ideas about how property should be split, which can create some difficulty as they try to reach a settlement.
In many cases, couples may prefer to settle their property division questions outside of court. Rather than leaving the court to settle asset division, it may be preferable to reach an agreement that meets both spouse's needs while still addressing the complexity of their jointly held assets.

When reaching a settlement after ironing out differences, one spouse may be required to sell or shift assets to adhere to the terms of the divorce. Not long ago, CEO Hubert Joly needed to sell a large share of his company's stock to settle with his ex-wife. Readers are likely familiar with Joly's company, electronics retailer Best Buy, which has locations in the Atlanta area. Reports from CNN Money indicate that Joly sold about 20 percent of his stake in the company in order to provide $16.7 million for his divorce.

Joly took the reins at Best Buy when it was struggling. Although the company still experienced some challenges in the months immediately after he became CEO, the stock's value has tripled this year under Joly's leadership. As such, issues of asset valuation likely became the subject of discussion during his divorce proceedings. The shifting worth of Best Buy's stock could have complicated how and when the marital estate was valued.

Many aspects of divorce are confusing. However, couples shouldn't feel like they can't overcome those obstacles. Seeking trustworthy advice can go a long way in trying to reach an equitable divorce settlement.
Source: CNN Money, "Best Buy CEO dumps large stake to pay for divorce," Chris Isidore, Sept. 11, 2013